June is here and the season for beetroot has just begun. They aren’t the easiest of vegetables to deal with: they require a good scrubbing, both of the beetroot skin and of your hands after dealing with them - and even then you might not get the stains out (you could wear gloves, but that seems like cheating).
The effort is worth it, though. Until I moved to the UK, my experience with beetroot was pretty much limited to cold beet soup (I thank my Polish and Lithuanian grandparents for that). But here, beetroot finds its way into all manners of dishes, commonly salads where you’ll often find them partnered with ingredients like horseradish, dill, carrots and goats cheese.
In my world, the easiest and least messy way to deal with beetroot is to scrub them well and boil until you can easily poke through the largest beetroot with a skewer (anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the beetroot). Others claim that roasting is superior and helps preserve more flavour (in which case, wrap in foil and roast at 180°C for 1 to 2 hours, until it passes the skewer test). Either way, you end up with cooked beetroot that’s ready to be taken to the next level.
My most creative use for beetroot this year is the following beetroot sorbet. I was inspired by the Huffington Post, and created this version using agave nectar instead of sugar. It’s a great way to freshen up the often earthy beetroot. You could eat it for dessert, but I’ve found its best use is in savoury dishes, for example, topped with shaved pecorino and good balsamic. And if you’re a fish fan, it would be a perfect match for mackerel.